Driving research of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS),
Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia and Post COVID .

Football Player Jack Emmett Becomes OMF Ambassador!

Football Player Jack Emmett Becomes OMF Ambassador!

Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is delighted to kick off the new year with an exciting update: We are proud to welcome professional football player Jack Emmett as OMF’s newest Ambassador! 

At 27 years old, Jack Emmett has pursued a career in professional football (soccer) in England.  Having played for the professional Association Football Club Harrogate Town as a midfielder for eight years, he has won two promotions to reach the football league for the first time in the club’s history. 

Emmett was forced to leave his impressive and promising football career in January 2021 after being diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). 

In becoming an OMF ambassador, Jack will help to raise widespread awareness of this devastating disease, inspiring support and increased understanding for people with ME/CFS all over the globe. 

As we welcome Jack to our team, we are honored to share an exclusive interview with our newest OMF Ambassador:

When did you first become ill with ME/CFS? 

I have struggled with fatigue for some time, but I just attributed it to the intensity of playing professional football. Over time the fatigue worsened, and it got to the point where I didn’t feel able to perform. Eventually, I wasn’t recovering from exertion and was sleeping for large portions of the day. 

The last few months, I have been going through different tests and everything came back saying I was in good shape, which was frustrating because I knew something was wrong.

You recently took a leave from the world of football. What has that transition been like? Has it been difficult to gain support and understanding from teammates? 

I was lucky when leaving football that my teammates understood my diagnosis. This was mainly because having played at Harrogate for so long I had a close relationship with many of the players. They trusted and believed me when I told them about my situation. In a professional sports environment, it is difficult to open up about fatigue because it is seen as an inevitable part of the job and something that you don’t complain about. I tried to hide the fatigue for a while, hoping that I could find a quick fix myself.

As time went on, it became clearer that I needed to take a break from football for my health. After my diagnosis, I decided that taking a break was the best thing to do. It is a shame that the illness has possibly ended my professional football career, but I am grateful for what I was able to do while I was playing.

What does daily life look like for you now?

I am introducing quality relaxation techniques throughout the day, in particular meditation. I always found it difficult to have a routine with football as we trained in the mornings and played games in the afternoons and evenings. I often used to sleep through the afternoons, so I found it difficult to maintain any stable rhythm to my days.

What is one thing you wish the world would understand about ME/CFS?

Having only recently been diagnosed, I am still learning about the world of ME/CFS, and it is hard to find clear, detailed information about the illness. It is clearly a condition that affects many people; however, it is something that most people have never heard of, and this seems to be reflected by the lack of medical research. 

What gives you the most hope for the future? 

Since being diagnosed, several people have been in touch who have suffered from ME/CFS. It has been great to hear about other people’s experiences, especially because before I was diagnosed, it felt like no one else knew what was going on, or had been through the same thing. Although I feel lucky to not be as seriously affected by ME/CFS as others, it has opened my eyes to how debilitating the condition can be.  

I wish there was more acknowledgment of the condition. It is reassuring to find that organizations like OMF are dedicated to finding a cure and supporting people who are suffering. I feel optimistic that there are better days ahead.

We are honored to welcome Jack to the OMF team and we sincerely thank him for his advocacy efforts. His willingness to publicly raise awareness for the millions suffering from ME/CFS and related chronic, complex diseases makes a real difference in helping us to amplify our mission to end ME/CFS.

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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

 

Averting a second pandemic:

Open Medicine Foundation leads groundbreaking international study of

Long COVID’s conversion to ME/CFS

AGOURA HILLS, CALIF.  — Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is leading a large-scale international collaborative study investigating the potential conversion of Post-Acute Sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection — more commonly known as Long COVID or Post-COVID Syndrome —  to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), a chronic, life-altering disease with no known cause, diagnostic test or FDA approved treatments available.

Up to 2.5 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from ME/CFS; the COVID-19 pandemic could at least double that number. An estimated 35 percent of Americans who had COVID-19 have failed to fully recover several months after infection, prompting many to call it “a potential second pandemic.”

OMF recognized a familiar health crisis emerging, one with eerie similarities to ME/CFS. This crisis presented a unique opportunity to understand how a viral infection — in this case COVID-19 — may develop into ME/CFS in some patients. The goal is to find targeted treatments for ME/CFS patients and ultimately prevent its onset in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 or other infections.

The federal government is only now investing in Post-COVID research, with no focus on its connection to ME/CFS. OMF has already engaged researchers for the largest-scale study of its kind, solely supported by private donors who have contributed over one million dollars to date. When fully funded, the five million dollar, three-year study will be conducted across the globe at OMF funded Collaborative Research Centers, led by some of the world’s top researchers and ME/CFS experts.

BACKGROUND

In a significant percentage of patients, infections preceded their development of ME/CFS.  For example, according to the CDC about one in ten infected with Epstein-Barr virus, Ross River virus, or Coxiella burnetti develop symptoms that meet the criteria for ME/CFS.

THE STUDY

The ability to follow the development of ME/CFS from a known viral infection is unprecedented to date and crucial to researchers’ understanding of the disease. The focus of this study is to find the biological differences between persons returning to good health after COVID-19 and persons who remained ill more than six months after infection and developed ME/CFS.  Understanding these alterations in key pathways can lead to groundbreaking discoveries including new biomarkers, drug targets, and prevention and treatment strategies.

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About Open Medicine Foundation

Established in 2012, Open Medicine Foundation leads the largest, concerted worldwide nonprofit effort to diagnose, treat, and prevent ME/CFS and related chronic, complex diseases such as Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Post COVID. OMF adds urgency to the search for answers by driving transformational philanthropy into global research. We have raised over $28 Million from private donors and facilitated and funded the establishment of five prestigious ME/CFS Collaborative Research Centers around the world. To learn more, visit www.omf.ngo.

CONTACT:

Heather Ah San

Development and Communications Manager

1-650-242-8669

heather@omf.ngo